Mar 31, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera embraces New England Revolution forward Cristian Penilla (70) after a game at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
FOXBOROUGH, MA – The New England Revolution bested the Montreal Impact 4-0 at Gillette Stadium on Friday night, maintaining control from start to finish in cold and damp conditions as they extended their unbeaten run to four games.
Teal Bunbury opened the scoring for the Revolution (3-1-1, 10 points) in the 20th minute, just seven minutes after referee Jose Carlos Rivero ejected Montreal midfielder Saphir Taider for a late hit on Luis Caicedo.
Andrew Farrell doubled the advantage with his first career Major League Soccer goal in the the sixth minute of first half stoppage time; Diego Fagundez and Wilfried Zahibo iced the result with the hosts’ third and fourth goals in the 71st and 80th minutes, respectively.
“It doesn’t happen every day, I think we created over 20 some-odd chances,” said Revolution head coach Brad Friedel. “That’s really pleasing. If you can score four every game, I think most of the coaches on the staff would be happy.”
Montreal (2-3-0, six points) rarely threatened after losing Taider and were out-shot on the night 25-4; the Impact were also without their main scoring threat, Ignacio Piatti.
Regardless of Montreal’s absences and having to go down early, it’s tough to minimize the Revolution’s highest scoring output so far this season.
New England attacked on the counter-attack and with precision, using Bunbury, plus Farrell and left back Gabriel Somi, to open space going forward.
Zahibo served a looping pass from midfield on the opening goal, Bunbury remaining behind Victor Cabrera to stay onside and emerge inside the box. After taking two touches, Bunbury steadied himself and slotted his second goal of the season inside the far post past Montreal goalkeeper Evan Bush.
“My job is to make runs, either open up space for people or get the ball,” Bunbury said. “[Zahibo] played a great ball. I tried to make something happen, was able to be one-on-one and finish it. That’s my job. There was a lot of hard work from a lot of guys tonight.”
Rivero called Cabrera for dragging down Cristian Penilla in the box 10 minutes later and awarded New England a penalty. But Rivero hesitated before allowing the Revolution to take the spot kick, a long delay ensuing as he struggled with his headset to confirm his initial call via VAR.
After just over five minutes, Fagundez was finally allowed to take the penalty, but had his effort parried away by Bush.
“It was unlucky that the [wait] was that long, but I need to do better on that,” Fagundez said. “But at least I missed and got one back at the end of the day.”
The delay didn’t end up being for naught, either, as the officials added eight minutes of stoppage time to the end of the first half.
Six minutes into added time, Somi’s cross from the left wing squirted to Farrell on the opposite end of the penalty area after taking a touch off Fagundez.
No one converged on Farrell, his volley taking a slight touch off of Bush’s body as it screamed into the back of the net.
“I blacked out a little bit, I can’t tell you what happened,” said Farrell of scoring his first MLS goal. “I knew I had to take a shot there at one-time. It just fell to me, just a great ball from Somi.
“It’s been a long time coming for me, but it feels really good to help team on the offensive side. That’s something I’ve been working on since I’ve gotten here.”
Zahibo rounded out the scoring in the 80th minute, using his physicality during a set piece to put away his first goal of the season. He rose unmarked at the back post to poke a loose ball into the back of the net after Bush tipped Rowe’s corner kick into the air.
“One thing that was big when we scouted Wilfried is that he’s very good in both boxes,” Friedel said. “That’s scoring goals and defending set pieces…I’m not saying he will be a prolific 20-goal scorer, but he will pop up with a few goals. He is very tall in stature.”
New England, which plays at FC Dallas next Saturday, has produced its best start to the season since 2005 when it opened with an 11-game unbeaten run. The Revs are now also unbeaten in their last 11 games at Gillette Stadium dating back to last season.
“When we’re at home we want to get three points,” Bunbury added. “We want to win every game. We feel we can go toe-to-toe with every team. And we have to go out there and play like it.”